by Alex R. Travers
For Spring 2014, savvy sisters-in-law Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard headed downtown to the Bleecker Street Arts Club, a charming little spot that cultivates a creative community of artists. Last season the duo presented in midtown, but it’s clear they understand their range of clients and the importance of diversity. “Maybe one of our customers is going to a baptism, and another one is going to Coachella, and another one is going to the Riviera—St. Barths—you know, and we’ve got to think about that,” said Veronica Swanson Beard. The décor within the Bleecker Street Arts Club was minimal—exposed brick, wood-beam ceilings, and gallery-white walls. Models stood on raised platforms tagged by the graffiti artist Ryan Humphrey. Most of the platforms had New York City sewer covers on them. “The uptown girl and her designer excess clashing with the grit of the subway graffiti in the New York underground,” was how they described it.
Before any prints were selected, or any sketches were drawn, the Veronicas choose their fabrics carefully. At the presentation there were vests, skirts, and pants made of scuba, which is essentially stretched polyester that is significantly lighter than neoprene—the stuff actual wetsuits are made out of. But even when scuba wasn’t used, many of the sleek and streamlined silhouettes seemed deep sea–inspired. The colors were a jolt of electricity: aureolin yellows, Warholian-like flowers, and a traffic-stripe print injected with some of Mondrian’s “Boogie Woogie.” Of course there were also “dickies,” shirt fronts with modern updates that the sisters-in-law have been using since they launched the label. One in cornichon helped break up the busyness of a “hot-house floral print.” You couldn’t help but love the simplicity of the white cotton jacket with gold buttons. It could easily be paired with both their white shorts and white cigarette pants. Then came the grit: A perforated leather dress in rust with zip front recalled a young Claudine Auger in all her Bond girl badness.